IJLLL 2018 Vol.4(1): 45-51 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2018.4.1.148

Thematic Structure in Reading Comprehension Texts in English Textbooks

Vinh To
Abstract—Theme choice in academic texts plays an important role to the reader’s comprehension as it facilitates the coherence and cohesiveness of the text. However, research on thematic structure in academic settings in developing world has still received less attention. This paper reports findings on the use of thematic structure in four English textbooks in a book series used in tertiary education in the Vietnamese context. It employed functional grammar as the main theoretical framework to the analysis of different types of themes including simple themes, multiple themes and clausal themes in the 24 reading comprehension texts across four levels, specifically elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate. The analysis revealed three main findings. First, simple themes, which include topical/unmarked and marked themes, were used most across levels, while multiple themes took the second position, and clausal themes were used the least. Second, the number of multiple and clausal themes increased in accordance with the textbook levels from low to high, though that of simple themes demonstrated a decreasing pattern. Third, among components of multiple themes, the frequency of experiential and textual themes was significantly high in all four books, compared with that of interpersonal themes. It is concluded that a variety of theme types were employed in reading texts across levels, contributing to the coherent organisation of the texts.

Index Terms—Theme, rheme, english textbooks, reading texts.

Vinh To is with the School of Education, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia (e-mail: Vinh.To@utas.edu.au).


Cite:Vinh To, "Thematic Structure in Reading Comprehension Texts in English Textbooks," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 45-51, 2018.

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